Common Core to better prepare students
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Wednesday, 30 April 2014 10:15
A local tech expert says Common Core is needed for college and career readiness.
Dr. Roger Minier, executive director of the Northwest Ohio Educational Technology Foundation, shared some background of the Common Core and the learning standards with a standing-room-only crowd Monday at the Wood County District Public Library.
Minier has worked in journalism, served as a public school teacher for 12 years, and has acted as executive director of NWOET, a non-profit state agency located on the campus of Bowling Green State University, for the past 20 years.
He said that expanding math, reading and writing are important to finding a job, but that technology done right equates to students learning more.
He shared that Ohio is losing 40,000 jobs annually, because employers can't find enough qualified employees.
"You can't just go out and get a job by working hard," he stated.
Now, hopeful employees need a piece of paper from a four-year college, a community college, or a specific training program such as for nurses or truck drivers.
And more students are entering college not ready in reading, writing and math - the three areas that are the focus on Common Core, said Minier.
The Common Core State Standards is an education initiative that details what K-12 students should know in English language arts and mathematics at the end of each grade. Its purpose is to ensure that students graduating from high school are prepared to enter credit-bearing courses at two- or four-year college programs or enter the workforce.
Online testing of students to assess learning starts next school year.
Minier stated that more nonfiction reading is planned in all grades: It will increase to 50 percent in elementaries to 80 percent in high school.
That doesn't mean teachers have to toss Dr. Seuss or Shakespeare, since much of social studies, history and government classes constitute nonfiction reading.
And he supported the Third Grade Guarantee which is to have every third-grader reading at that grade level before advancing to fourth grade.
"The basic premise is, if Johnny can't read, we need to help him."
Youngsters that don't master reading early will be more likely to drop out of school, he shared.
He added that 80 percent of all jobs require some computer use, and many require online testing to either get or keep a job.
"That's why we have online testing" of the new standards, he said, referring to the PARCC tests that will be given. Because the PARCC assessments are aligned with the new Common Core standards, they ensure that every child is on a path to college and career readiness by measuring what students should know at each grade level.
And the tests are a switch from the usual method of memorizing answers to make them more real-life, with more than one possible answer, Minier stated.
The goal is to get students ready for learning and career life skills.
Among the questions asked after the session: Isn't Common Core just another high-stakes test?
No different that the ACT and even kindergarten entrance tests, Minier responded.
With the introduction of more technology in schools, are brick-and-mortar buildings going away?
Minier answered by pointing out that 80 percent of youngsters that take 100 percent online testing fail.
Why just focus on reading, writing and math?
"They are the courses that keep kids out of college."
Sharon Belkofer, of Rossford, said "this helps me understand what it's all about."
"For me it's the kids need to graduate with a diploma. That means something," she added.
The talk was hosted by the Bowling Green League of Women Voters, whose education committee has been studying educational policies and practices for the past two years.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 April 2014 11:36